Today the road stretched from Amsterdam NY to Westlake, Ohio, just west of Cleveland. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with blue sky and fair weather clouds dotting the heavens. The traffic was moderate, with the exception of our arrival in Cleveland during rush hour. That was rather heavy and slow, but it gave a moment to take in the view of Lake Erie as we moved along I-90. It is majestic.
When you have known someone for 51 years, since you were a child, experienced them in the strength of their adulthood and at the fullness of their powers, traveled with them when their knowledge and confidence made the going seem simple, it is an adjustment, sometimes a challenge, and a revelation of God's faithfulness, to be with them in their old age. To witness limitations that were once unimagined pressing on everyday life, at each moment. To see weakness and the noble effort to adjust to it. To hear the echo of the call that has come to them to let go, to surrender, to release – for some people the hardest call of a lifetime perhaps. I have seen that today. I have seen it before, and continue to do so, in people that I love, who mean worlds to me. It is not easy to see. Sometimes – no, often – it is not easy to accept with patience. It becomes necessary to call yourself back in quiet moments to who you know you are called to be at this moment in this friendship, to remind yourself of what you are called to do and to contribute (as best you can) hear and now.
It is all a part of the rhythm of life. Sometimes that rhythm is pleasing. Sometimes it is jarring and unpleasant. But still and all, it is life's rhythm and who should not desire to say yes to life, whatever she offers?
And still more, it is instructive to have my own 'crabby knee' as I now name it, which has been bothering me occasionally for months, bloom at this precise moment – while crossing the continent – into at times almost crippling disability. What a teacher about my own future, my own letting go, my own necessary surrenders, whatever they may turn out to be.
Jesus asked that we who are his apprentices take up our own crosses and follow him along the way. We never have to look for our own crosses. We should not even ask to know what they might be. They will come, without fail. And we will know them by two signs – by how regrettable their coming seems, and later by the bright, otherwise unseen places they reveal.
Tomorrow, onward again toward Iowa, Nebraska and news of threatening weather.